Tele: NSW police officer charged with impersonating returned soldier

Police colleagues of an officer charged with impersonating a returned soldier allegedly became suspicious and started to doubt his war stories.

A senior constable in the NSW Police internal affairs division has left the force after being charged with impersonating a returned soldier.

Officers from the Professional Standards Command began investigating their colleague in September before they raided his southwest Sydney home.

It is understood the 30-year-old had been telling his colleagues about his time in various conflicts overseas.

However, some who had served in the defence force had become suspicious of his so-called “war stories” and of his boasting about winning a medal.

Police allegedly uncovered an Australian Army dress uniform during the search of his home as well as mobile phones.

On Christmas Eve, the officer was given court attendance notices for eight counts of “represent self as person having been conferred service medal” and 21 counts of falsely representing to be a returned soldier, sailor or airman.

“Police will allege in court the man falsely represented himself as a military service person,” police said in a statement. “The man … resigned in late September.”

He is due to front Parramatta Local Court on February 12.

Impersonating a returned soldier is punishable by up to six months in jail and the practice is known to cause deep hurt among Australia’s veteran community.

A website has even been set up claiming to name and shame “Australia and New Zealand Military Imposters”.

In 2018, Kenneth Franks was convicted and fined $1000 after claiming he had taught Australia’s Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith how to shoot a rifle.

He pleaded guilty in Queensland’s Goondiwindi Magistrates Court after his home was raided and a string of military paraphernalia was seized. Local returned servicemen said Franks had begun to turn up to Dawn Services wearing medals.

One of the most notorious vet impostor cases was in 2013 when a man attended an Anzac Day AFL game at the MCG and was shown on TV wearing a string of medals.

A viewer quickly recognised the man as a corporal in the Corps of Signals who had never served overseas.

Categories: ALL POSTS